artists & participants
With Versuchsstation des Weltuntergangs, Gardar Eide Einarsson presents a major integrated exhibition consisting exclusively of new works. Accompanying the exhibition is a new book co-published by Bergen Kunsthall and Sternberg Press.
Curated by Solveig Øvstebø and Steinar Sekkingstad
Over the past decade Einarsson's exhibition practice has followed a highly consistent thematic trajectory, continuously tracing out what one could call an 'iconography of resistance.' The signs and symbols we can read out of Einarsson's works often refer to fundamental conflictual structures between a society of control from the time after September 11th, 2001, and the individual's rebellion against and threat to central power. At the same time Einarsson points to historical examples of tragic, abortive attempts to achieve individual freedom. Popular culture's treatment of the outsider ideal often draws its vocabulary of myths, signs and visuality from examples in reality where instances of extreme individualism have resulted in terrorism and crime.
The exhibition Versuchsstation des Weltuntergangs presents a new chapter in Einarsson's artistic career. Cue words like negation, resistance and opposition are still central elements, but explicit slogans have been replaced here with an underlying sense of unease that lurks beneath the surface among the abstract paintings and apparently silent objects. The works, all of which have been produced specifically for this exhibition, refer less to individualized violence than to a kind of collective nightmare where patterns of oppression and control are articulated and suggested in a more indirect way. As a whole the exhibition forms a unified tableau or scenography that is dominated by what the artist himself calls "pop apocalypse." The juxtaposition of objects, images and cultural references seems to have survived an apocalyptic state—a structural crisis. Everything appears to be interconnected in a densely woven texture of codes and references.
Versuchsstation des Weltuntergangs relates to the kind of paranoid experience of phenomena that underlies conspiracy theories and mythologizing ideas of 'the Other.' If you search in the 'right' way you will be able to find meaning where meaning does not exist, or patterns and causalities with no basis in reality. Einarsson draws parallels between conspiracy theories and art's own decoding and interpretation practices. The exhibition invites you to engage in a kind of 'pattern recognition' in overdrive, where you sense as a viewer that everything has an internal connectivity, but where the connections cannot directly be combined into an unambiguous totality. For Einarsson, "the exhibition as conspiracy" becomes a complex but often also humorous launching pad for analyses of power structures, mechanisms of control and subtle strategies of influence.
Gardar Eide Einarsson was born in Oslo. He lives and works in New York, Tokyo and Oslo.
Platform: Gardar Eide Einarsson in conversation with Bob Nickas 25 May, 1pm Platform is Bergen Kunsthall's series of lectures, presentations and debates. See also our online video archive.
Publication: Gardar Eide Einarsson Versuchsstation des Weltuntergangs Editors: Gardar Eide Einarsson, Steinar Sekkingstad and Solveig Øvstebø Essays: Martin Herbert, Nick Land, Bob Nickas Published by Bergen Kunsthall and Sternberg Press, 2013
only in german
Gardar Eide Einarsson
Versuchsstation des Weltuntergangs
Solveig Ovstebo, Steinar Sekkingstad